Smyrna City Council approves employee insurance plans, Splash Pad funding, plus more

The exterior of Smyrna City Hall, a red brick building with four large columns

by Arielle Robinson

Back in City Hall Monday evening, the Smyrna City Council unanimously approved several agenda items.

First, they approved the 2023 city employee benefits insurance plans, which they review each fall.

The city worked with its insurance broker, John Knop of Oakbridge Insurance, to choose its employee benefits insurance plans, providers, and plan designs.

According to an issue sheet from the city, this is the plan for 2023:

Medical, Rx, Stop Loss

  • Medical insurance plan and claims administration—Move to Allied, a third-party administrator, while keeping the employee contributions the same.
    • Utilize the Aetna Signature Administrators (ASA) PPO network
    • Keep overall plan designs the same. Eliminate redundant HMO High plan. Offer 3 plan options-High, Middle, Low (HDHP).
  • Stop Loss—Move to Pareto/HHS
  • Total annual maximum increase 1.93 percent or $169,486.19
  • Rx—Renew with ProCare, ElectRx, and Veracity – no change

Dental—Renew with Guardian – 6 percent increase to employees – this is 100 percent employee paid

Vision—Renew with Guardian – no change

Basic Life and AD&D, voluntary life, and short-term and long-term disability—Renew with Guardian – no change

Health Savings Accounts—Renew with Health Equity – no change

Flexible Spending Accounts and COBRA Administration—Renew with Discovery Benefits/WEX—no change

Mayor Derek Norton said the city was happy with this plan.

“In the past…we’ve had other brokers that have come in over our time here and given us…three terrible options usually, and we choose the best of the terrible options,” Norton said. “But that didn’t happen recently—with a 1.93 percent increase, that is unheard of. And we’re very, very happy with that.”

To view the 2023 benefits renewal document from the city, click here.

Smyrna also approved the use of $34,500 in 2022 SPLOST funds for the design development, construction documentation, and construction period services for the Riverline Park Splash Pad.

The Splash Pad will be in Ward 7, which is Lewis Wheaton’s ward.

Pond and Company, which is based out of Peachtree Corners, proposed the design development and will create a conceptual site plan to later be approved by the city, according to a document from Pond that lays out the details.

The document states that the Splash Pad’s key elements include a splash pad, locations for future pavilions, miscellaneous park amenities such as benches, trash cans, and hardscapes, and a prefabricated restroom building.

Wheaton was absent Monday evening because he was traveling. Norton spoke in his place.

“This has been something that we’ve been very excited about, it’s one of our SPLOST projects,” the mayor said. “It goes with the theme of not just focusing on one area of the city, but using our resources throughout all wards.”

City council unanimously approved an amendment to the 2023 adopted budget.

The amendment increases the Buildings and Grounds Technical Services line item by $150,000 from the 2018 CIP Roof Repair and Replacement Project to the Building and Plants Department Technical Services line item.

City Administrator Joseph Bennett said this stems from the city’s desire to be more proactive when it comes to planning for repairs and maintenance.

“Building and Grounds has identified a vendor that can provide an assessment of city roofs and provide a maintenance plan going forward,” Bennett said. “We’ve also identified some security upgrades to City Hall, the library and the Community Center. The CIP project from budget year 2018 was established to reroute the Community Center and realize some savings on that project.

“Staff agrees that moving funds out of that project and back into the general fund would be a good use for these funds without having to reduce another expenditure line item. And again, the recommendation requested action is approval of an amendment to the 2023 adopted budget to increase the Building and Grounds Technical Services line item by $150,000.”

Lastly, Smyrna unanimously approved a couple of items through the consent agenda related to public safety.

One item approved was to authorize the purchase of a new firearms simulator for the new Smyrna Police Training Center in Ward 7.

The city accepted the FY2023 Law Enforcement Training Program Grant, which is in the amount of $37,800, through the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council to make the purchase.

According to the city’s issue sheet, this is the background:

“The Smyrna Police Department was given a firearms simulator by Glock about 5 years

ago and it was already 15 years old. The technology and equipment are outdated, and

several features no longer work on it. Since we opened the new training center this year, we now have the space for a new firearms simulator to train our officers and other

agencies. The grant was awarded in the amount of $37,800.00.”

City council also authorized a $2,754 grant through the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council to reactivate the police department’s bicycle unit.

The grant is the FY2020 Project Safe Neighborhoods Microgrant for Community Policing. Both this grant and the one for the firearms simulator were awarded to Smyrna on October 6.

According to the issue sheet for this item, this is the background:

“As we renovate and redesign our city, the police department is looking for new ways to

respond to areas where vehicles are not practical. The police department is reactivating

our bicycle unit and needs money for uniforms, bicycle upkeep, training classes, and

bicycle equipment such as blue lights. The grant was awarded to us in the amount of


Arielle Robinson is a student at Kennesaw State University. She also freelances for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution and is the former president of KSU’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists as well as a former CNN intern. She enjoys music, reading, and live shows.

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